Strangely beautiful and remarkably clean, Minsk is a fascinating blend of Stalinist architecture, Soviet-era monuments, museums, theatres, and parks. Outside the capital, pastoral countryside gives way to quaint villages, pristine lakes and forested national parks, including Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park – the oldest wildlife reserve in Europe. Although the country was largely destroyed by WWII, a smattering of centuries-old castles and historic towns offer a glimpse of pre-communist Belarus. Be among the first to discover the understated appeal of this emerging nation.
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After being destroyed in WWII, Minsk was completely rebuilt in Stalinist style. Today, impressive war monuments coexist with trendy eateries.
The oldest wildlife refuge in Europe and the pride of Belarus – discover 600-year-old oak trees and a rich variety of wildlife.
The site of a famous standoff between Soviet and German troops is a now the country’s most important memorial.
Hotel rooms start to look the same after a while, don’t you think? Half the fun of travel is experiencing a destination just like the locals – including where they sleep. Wherever possible, Intrepid uses unique and traditional accommodation to create a truly authentic experience.
Nesvizh Castle: Spend a night in this UNESCO-listed world heritage site and former home of the Radziwill dynasty, one of the riches families in Europe, for a truly unforgettable experience.
Rural farmstay: There’s no better way to learn about rural life than by staying with a local family at their traditional farmstay. Head into the tranquil countryside to get a taste of traditional music and dance, local customs and home-cooked Belarusian dishes.
Belarus experiences a temperate continental climate, meaning it has four distinct seasons. Winters are cold and snowfall can occur any time between December and March. Summers are warm and pleasant, though thunderstorms can develop on hot and muggy days. So long as you are willing to deal with the occasional thunderstorm, the summer months of June, July and August are the best time to visit, when temperatures can reach highs of 25°C (77°F). Don’t worry about dealing with high season crowds – most travellers are yet to discover this beautiful nation.
Australia: Yes, in advance
Belgium: Yes, in advance
Canada: Yes, in advance
Germany: Yes, in advance
Ireland: Yes, in advance
Netherlands: Yes, in advance
New Zealand: Yes, in advance
South Africa: Yes, in advance
Switzerland: Yes, in advance
United Kingdom: Yes, in advance
USA: Yes, in advance
Travellers from most nations are required to obtain a tourist visa to visit Belarus. You will need to submit a Letter of Invitation (LOV) when applying for your visa. Your passport should be valid for at least six months past your date of departure from Belarus and have a few blank pages for stamps. Please note that visa requirements can change at any time. Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information regarding visa requirements.
If you’re visiting Belarus with Intrepid, please check the Essential Trip Information of your trip to learn how we can help you with obtaining a visa.
It’s customary to leave a small tip of 5 to 10% at restaurants.
Wi-Fi is widely available at restaurants and hotels in large towns and cities but may be limited in remote and rural areas. Some websites are blocked by the government, though major social networking sites, like Facebook or Twitter, should not be affected.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Belarus. Ensure global roaming is activated with your service provider before leaving home.
A mix of Western-style flushable toilets and squat toilets can be found in Belarus. Keep in mind that most flushable toilets can’t handle toilet paper. Instead, make sure to put used toilet paper in the bin provided. Public toilets are common but you may need to pay to use them.
Bottle of local beer = USD 0.50
Stolovaya (cafeteria) meal = USD 2
Simple meal at a local restaurant = USD 7
Sit-down dinner at a nice restaurant = USD 15-25
Tap water is generally safe to drink in Belarus. For environmental reason, try not to buy bottled water. Instead, bring a reusable water bottle to fill during your trip.
Credit cards are usually accepted by hotels, large retailers and tourist sites but are less commonly accepted at markets and smaller cafes and hotels. It’s a good idea to carry enough cash for smaller purchases in case credit cards are not an option.
ATMs are widely available throughout Belarus. Cities and large towns have more ATM access than small villages or rural areas, so plan ahead before travelling out of urban areas.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1: New Year’s Day
Jan 7: Orthodox Christmas
March 8: International Women’s Day
March 15: Constitution Day
Apr 16: Easter
April 25: Commemoration Day (Radonitsa)
May 1: Labour Day
May 9: Victory Day
Jul 3: Independence Day
Nov 7: October Revolution Day
Dec 25: Christmas
For a current list of public holidays in Belarus go to: https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/europe/belarus/public-holidays/
Discretion is advised for LGBTQI-travellers in Belarus. While a small gay community exists in Minsk, homophobia is quite widespread. As long as travellers use discretion and avoid public displays of affection, travel in Belarus should not be a problem.